What makes people happy?
I read somewhere happy people set goals and exercise, show gratitude and have life satisfaction. It is said they are spiritual, volunteer their time, and are stewards of their environment. Content people forgive and socialize.
I began thinking about this. I started obsessing about happy people. I looked for them in stores, restaurants, church, and even at celebrations. I calculated their smiles into categories. I watched their body movements. I even went as far as secretly sniffing people. I wondered what happy smelled like. If I walked into a store and heard laughter my shopping cart would automatically follow the sound.
I know people have hard times and no one is happy all the time. But some people seem happier than others and my curious mind was intrigued.
As I was thinking about happy people I reminded myself. America is confronted with some very serious issues…obesity, diabetes, crime, incarceration, bankruptcy, depression and suicide this is just a few. I heard people talking about improving the quality of life. I started taking notes. I know from research writing your intentions down creates a 42% higher chance of success.
How can we be happier? What can we change? How can we find balance? What are the things we worry about?
First, I listed fears, frustrations and victories on paper.
I set up goals and took out my journal to track my progress for 30 days.
- Educate yourself on financial matters
- Look for places to volunteer.
- Write down three positive things a day.
- Eat three healthy meals a day.
- Exercise more.
As I was wrapping up my assignment I noticed some things.
There are many people struggling with money matters today in our society. You are not alone. I learned to review and protect my credit score. I learned about saving money and emergency funds. Learn good money habits. I learned to set milestones It’s valuable to learn about money matters.
Be patient. Slow. Take one step at a time.
Doing good, is good for you. It is about impact, connection, and support. I volunteered at a senior citizens center. They appreciated my help and I enjoyed uncovering hidden history of the seniors. During my volunteering time I felt a sense of pride bursting from my center. Opening yourself to others strengthens your connection and community. It is simple. The positive energy exploded into my writer’s life. It was like walking on well manicured grass, barefoot, for the first time.
People have been writing for centuries. Of course I knew that. They have expressed their joys, frustrations, fears, hopes, sorrows and some victories. Expressive writing for 15 to 20 minutes a day over the course of several months has been found to reduce stress and significantly reduce sickness.
I felt better writing three positive things a day. You are loved! I choose this day. I am grateful for my family.
When I was reading about journaling I read it does wonders for your health. It can get you thinking. Writing can let you relive events in a safe environment. Counselors and therapist often encourage their clients to journal. The key is to focus on what you are thinking and feeling during the writing exercise. Writing makes it real. Just a few minutes writing provided me with a sense of relief. I wrote before went to bed or at early in the morning. I missed a couple days and I noticed that negative emotions started to creep back into my mind.
I tried to reduce my intake of refined sugars and caffeine. Eating three healthy meals a day for me was a challenge. This improved my health. I lost eight pounds. I tried to avoid eating fast food. Old habits are hard to break. I did not judge myself. I just started fresh each day.
Drink water, then drink more water.
I joined a gym. I am morbidly obese and I feared walking through the doors of a fitness center where everyone was skinny and athletic. Don’t go. People will make fun of you. You are too fat to fit on the equipment. I discovered there are gyms that are no judgment zones. You will be welcomed not matter what your size and shape. I did it! I was so proud of myself. I know I was glowing.
This encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and be outside more.
I learned being outdoors can relieve depression and negativity. Green exercise can help you improve your mood. The light exposure can increase your level of vitamin D. This vitamin fights infection and helps regulate your immune system. I was like anthropologists have discovered a prehistoric cave dwelling. I never knew it was there for me to discover. It was beautiful. I learned forming good habits prepares you for wisdom. I am happier. I am thankful. I am a miracle.
I discovered healing powers and we hold the keys.
Did I just write that? Inhale, Exhale.
Just 30 days made a difference. You can’t steal happiness. You have to create it within yourself.
It’s a simple plan.
Cynthia Stevison is the author of The Tree of Happiness available on Amazon. She writes about mental health awareness and you can read more about mental health and happiness on her blog, Root Words Alliance. She is a speaker and an entrepreneur. Cynthia earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. She lives in Oklahoma.